I woke up at 6 AM, still tired. The criminal bathroom mirror confirmed that dark circles ringed my eyes. I went into the kitchen to make myself my standard triple latte. When I opened up the pantry to get the espresso beans, out popped Rafe Bordelagne.
“How do you do?” he said cheerfully, while adjusting his cute lavender bow-tie with the trademark gold bumblebees on it. And then without waiting for a response, “Why are you so surprised to see me in here?”
I closed my eyes, and rubbed my temples. Was I still dreaming? “I … I … I thought you lived in New York?”
“You don’t remember, then?”
My brain did back-handsprings and somersaults trying to remember. What had happened to my short-term memory? When did I get so old? I think I would remember putting the founder of my place of employment, the high-end kitchen store, inside my kitchen pantry.
“Come out, sir, please! It must be claustrophobic in there.” I put my hand out to guide him. He seemed ancient, like a historic Roman statue.
He looked carefully around my kitchen. There were All-Clad Copper-Core Pans hanging neatly from the rack above the stove, Professional Series Wusthof Knives in Bamboo Block on the counter, a Stainless Cuisinart Electro-Pro Toaster cozying up to a sleek Onyx Krups Model 955 Coffee Maker, some embroidered “Summer In Paris” (in Cerulean Blue) Oven Mitts dangling from a hook, and the Brighton Large Serving Tray in Solid Pewter (with an engraved bumblebee, natch) propped against the tile backsplash.
“I feel right at home here, you know,” he beamed.
“Well, I guess you should, seeing as how everything was purchased from your store.”
“Very nice.” He winked at me. “Say, I’m hungry. Will you make me something to eat? Just a little snack? Maybe some toast?” He pulled out a Mahogany Emmett Chair, and sat down expectantly.
“Look, I would love to, Mr. Bordelagne, but I don’t cook.” I shrugged, like Hey, no big deal.
“YOU DON’T COOK?!?” Mr. Bordelagne jumped out of his chair. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T COOK?!?”
His face turned red as our Alden Wicker Table Mats, set of 6. He was shaking, like our Whirlipro Belgian Blender, 1200 watts.
“You mean to tell me you have your kitchen set up like this,” he paused to do a dramatic sweeping arm gesture like the The Price Is Right girl, “and yet, you don’t actually cook?”
“I do know how to bake cookies … from a mix,” I squeaked, nervously tucking my stray gray hairs into my messy ponytail, and wishing I had brushed my teeth.
He shook his head. I could tell that he was no longer enamored of me or my restaurant-caliber kitchen.
“How long have you been working at my store?” he grumbled.
“Uh, almost four years?” I rounded up.
He rolled his eyes in exasperated contempt. Steam was coming out of his ears, like the Breville Pressure Cooker 800 series. He stomped out of the kitchen in the direction of the front door.
“Mr. Bordelagne! Wait! Come back! You never told me what you were doing here, or even how you got here! Please!” I ran after him.
He paused, pushed his round tortoise-shell glasses (reminiscent of our Corva Serving Tongs, made in Italy) back up firmly on his nose, glared at me, and scoffed, “You, Miss, are an impostor.”
He walked out, and slammed the door hard.
I smiled for the first time: he called me “Miss.”